Bengaluru: Up to 12 passengers were killed and 25 injured when nine coaches of the Bengaluru-Eranakulam Inter-City Express derailed in Karnataka early Friday, an official said.
The incident occurred at 7.35 a.m. after the train left Anekal station towards Hosur near the border with Tamil Nadu, a railway official told IANS here.
While one railway official in Bengaluru claimed five deaths, others at the disaster site put it at 10. But Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said after speaking to a Karnataka minister that 12 people had died.
Rescuers frantically retrieved bodies from two of the coaches which telescoped into one another following the crash. The train was chugging at high speed when it went off the rails.
The train departed from the main city station here at 6.15 a.m. and covered 45 km when the disaster took place between Anekal road and Hosur town on the Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border.
“A disaster relief force team is at the spot for rescue and relief operations. The injured have been rushed to private and government hospitals at Anekal and Hosur,” one official said.
He said 10 of them were reported to be in serious condition.
Chandy, who spoke to Karnataka Home Minister K.J. George, told reporters in Kochi that a team led by Kerala Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed had left for the accident site.
Anish, a passenger on the train, told the media in Kochi over telephone that the rescue team had cut open the two coaches to shift the injured to hospitals.
Another passenger, Cyriac Mathew, said he had seen three bodies.
“The worst affected was coach D-8. I could see the bodies of two men and a woman in the coach,” said Mathew, a regular traveller on the train.
“Police and the ambulance arrived an hour after the accident,” he said.
Officials have not explained the cause of derailment. “An expert team is at the mishap spot to inspect what caused the derailment,” the official noted.
The South Western Railway has set up help desks at the Bengaluru station and the accident site to assist the injured and the stranded passengers.
The railways arranged special buses to shift the stranded passengers to Anekal and Hosur to either return to Bengaluru or to continue their onward journey to Ernakulam in Kerala via Tamil Nadu.
“We are planning to run a special train later in the day after the track is cleared,” the official added.